Exclusive–Rand Paul: Real Conservatives Stand For Private Property

REUTERS/Gary Cameron
REUTERS/Gary Cameron

I remember having a conversation with a local city official in Kentucky when the Kelo Supreme Court decision came down. Conservatives, myself included, were outraged that the Supreme Court had wrongly allowed using eminent domain to take private property from one private property owner and give it to another private owner.

Conservatives in my community came together with a local resolution to prevent this from happening. I’ll never forget the response from the local official, who told me: “But you know me, I would never use eminent domain that way.” I responded: “The law isn’t about you—it’s about when we get bad representatives and must have the law to restrain them.”

This is what we believe as conservatives—that the law must supersede personalities and intentions. As conservatives, we seek to bind government using the rule of law to prevent the abuse of power.

The law is necessary because, as Madison put it, men will not always be angels. The ordinance preventing the government from taking private property and transferring it to another private property owner passed three to two.

Where was Donald Trump during this debate? He was busy using eminent domain to take a little old lady’s home and flatten it for a parking lot to park limos at his casino.

When asked about the justice of using this bully force against property owners, Trump replied that he had no problem with it and that he supported the Kelo decision.

Of course Trump did—the Kelo decision allows more crony capitalism. It puts big business and big government more and more in bed together, with ordinary Americans left out.

I ran for office in 2010 after spending my life outside of both big business and politics. I ran as a member of the Tea Party who was sick and tired of it all. Of the politicians. Of the people who sought to buy the politicians. Of the entire Washington machine.

Donald Trump cannot fix our problems because he is an integral part of the problem. From using government to seize property to enrich himself, to hiring lobbyists to get what he wanted, Donald Trump has bought access to government at all levels and exploited that access for personal gain.

Now he wants you to give him power. We should ask ourselves—why?

Donald Trump is a fake conservative. Don’t let him destroy the limited government movement with chicanery and bluster. Frankly, you are not a conservative if you support this abuse of eminent domain, or the crony capitalism it enables.

Add Trump’s support for Obamacare and a single-payer government-run healthcare to his support for higher taxes, and you have nothing that is really conservative at all. Will Trump now change his opinion on the Kelo decision? Perhaps, but do we really want the leader of the ostensibly conservative party to be a fraud?

I think we deserve the real thing. A real conservative reformer who ran for the same reasons you would—for real change, not for power.


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